Always On My Mind — An Example of Brand Voice and Tone


Read Time: 4 Min

Throughout AOR’s 30 years in the business we’ve consistently advised clients how important it is for them to invest time and money in uncovering their brand voice and tone. It’s an exercise that always pays huge dividends and for those who love to talk about ROI, the return in brand recognition, expanded share of the market, retention of employees is easy to see.

It’s no easy task. It requires an honest assessment of their brand, buy-in from company leadership and in many cases workshops and many billable hours on both the client and agency side.

Already sweating? Ok, maybe it’s not a full-on sweat but there’s definitely some light perspiration — it happens.

Before we dive in we should really get a clear understanding of the definition of brand voice and tone.

Brand voice is not only what you say to your audience but also how you say it. Brand tone is the emotion you convey in messages to your audience through specific word choice and writing style. Essentially, tone is how you express your brand voice.

So, now you’re looking back on the title of this piece and you’re asking yourself, what is the connection between brand exploration and music?

Let’s look at the song “Always on My Mind”. First recorded by Branda Lee in 1972, the song has been recorded over 300 times. Artists Elvis Presley, John Wesley Ryles, The Pet Shop Boys, and Willie Nelson (I can’t lie I love Elvis’ version, but Wille Nelson is on a whole different level) have all recorded the song and have had success doing so.

While the melody may be adjusted slightly (tempo etc) it’s still recognizable and the words don’t change. The song (brand) is one of love, loss and regret remains unchanged regardless of expression.

The CEO of an international shipping corporation has compared a corporate brand to a work of music, emphasizing that its “melody” must be recognizable in all internal and external communications. The CEO, recognized that “we too have different voices and communicate through multiple channels, telling the world about our brand and what it stands for. The key is for everyone to follow the same melody.”

Wavy line graphic

So, how does a business discover or uncover the same melody?

At AOR, we advise our clients to do a brand workshop and have even found it helpful to send out “homework” before we can move forward with branding, marketing or any of our solutions. We believe the workshops and the effort of aligning purpose and creating pillars lead to a strong brand voice and tone.

In our workshops we use very specific questions regarding internal and external core beliefs and what bridges the two. We delve into personas, archetypes, audiences and other exercises searching for the answer to why our client’s business does what it does and what’s the emotional reason people should care?

All of these questions are fantastic at helping us uncover your brand’s unshakable voice.

As an example, our work with Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC for a property rebrand now known as, “The Calo” illustrates how the process of uncovering purpose, developing pillars and creating a brand voice and tone created inspiring branding.

After doing our workshop the most important pillar was uncovered — community. The foundation of community led to a brand voice of acceptance, empathy and strong, lasting relationships.

Voice and Tone exercise for The Calo

The tone of the Calo brand speaks to their audience as a close friend, not as an authority figure or expert. It’s this tone that attracts believers and non believers alike speaking to them in a tone which they respond to. Once they hear your tone they see that it’s coming from a voice and purpose that aligns with their values.

A brand voice and tone exploration is vital to communicating a brand’s purpose. It’s the pillars behind the walls of your business. Ask yourself, can you afford not to take the time to get a clear vision of why your business exists?

Without this step your messages will be muddled and lost and your potential customers won’t be receptive to your message if you speak in a tone that isn’t tied to your purpose.

After all, you want your brand to be “always on the mind” of your target audience.

Read more about our process and view case studies that bring voice and tone to life.

And as always, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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